Okaloosa County Sheriff arrested over bribery and theft allegations

By: WJHG-TV
By: WJHG-TV

UPDATE Another person has been arrested in connection to the arrest of Okaloosa County Sheriff Charlie Morris.

Along with the arrest of 59-year-old Sheriff Charlie Morris, Teresa Adams, age 50, of Niceville, Florida, were arrested Friday based upon a federal criminal complaint alleging violations of Theft or
Fraud from Federally Funded Programs, Wire Fraud, Fraud or Theft of Honest Services, Money Laundering and Money Laundering Conspiracy.

Sheriff Morris was arrested by federal agents in Las Vegas, Nevada, and is expected to make an initial appearance in United States District Court for the District of Nevada Friday.

Thereafter, he is expected to be returned to the Northern District of Florida.

According to the complaint filed in federal court, Morris, with the assistance of his Director of Administration and Finance, Adams, created fictitious bonuses to sheriff’s department employees.

The complaint alleges the employees were directed to return all or a portion of the bonuses in the form of cash and cashier’s checks under the pretense that these returned funds were to be used for charitable purposes.

Adams is expected to make an initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Elizabeth M. Timothy in Pensacola Friday.

A criminal complaint is merely a charging instrument. Each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in United States District Court.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Randall J.

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Okaloosa County Sheriff Charlie Morris has been arrested on theft-bribery charges and suspended by Governor Charlie Crist.

According to the attached memorandum, sent by Gov. Crist's office, Morris is Accused of:

-Wire Fraud in violation of title 18, U.S. Code section 1343;

-Deprivation of Rights to Honest Services in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code Section 1346;

-Engaging in Monetary Transactions in Property Derived from Specified Unlawful Activity in Violation of Title 18, U.S. Code Section 1957, Section 371.

For the time being, Edward M. Spooner has been appointed as interim Sheriff. Spooner is from Quincy.

Morris is the President of the Florida Sheriffs Association and has been suspended from office.


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